Detroit, Mich. – Last week, at the North American Auto Show Press Preview, assembled press and politicians raved over hybrids, plug-in electrics, and other “automobiles of the future.” Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.) has said that “we can be proud of the 2010 Ford Fusion, a mid-sized hybrid that will get 41 city mpg. The Fusion, the Chevy Volt (plug-in electric) and Chrysler’s upcoming electric vehicles are examples that Detroit’s automakers can compete with products made anywhere in the world. All of our companies have already taken action to produce new fuel-efficient vehicles that the consumer wants.”
This weekend, the show opened to the public — and the vehicles that Washington assures us “the consumer wants” were met by consumers with . . . a collective yawn.
At the Ford display, for example, show attendees crowded around the Ford F-250 pickup, Ford Mustang, and gas-powered Ford Fusion models.
Meanwhile, the Ford Fusion Hybrid was ignored.
Contrary to the myths spun by Dingell and his press parrots, hybrid sales fell last year to under two percent of all vehicles sold. Despite the headliner success of the Toyota Prius hybrid, green vehicles are niche, not mass-appeal, vehicles.